A group of the most talented high school players in the country will soon head to Bradenton, Fla., to participate in a prestigious baseball development program hosted by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball. In the weeks leading up to the event, several of those players have been celebrated with
A group of the most talented high school players in the country will soon head to Bradenton, Fla., to participate in a prestigious baseball development program hosted by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball. In the weeks leading up to the event, several of those players have been celebrated with a touch of pomp and circumstance in their hometowns.
Beginning this week and lasting through mid-May, MLB and USA Baseball are on a nearly 40-stop tour around the United States to recognize around half of the 80 participants of the inaugural Prospect Development Pipeline League, a premier development and showcase experience for high school baseball prospects based in the United States.
The first stops on the tour took place in Florida and California, where MLB and USA Baseball representatives presented the players with their official PDP League jerseys, with their classmates, friends and family watching.
The players who have been recognized so far are:
Max Rajcic, Orange (CA) Lutheran High School
Christian Rodriguez, Orange (CA) Lutheran High School
Brandon Fields, Dr. Phillips (FL) High School
Carson Montgomery, Windmere (FL) High School
Dylan Crews, Lake Mary (FL) High School
Jared Jones, La Mirada (CA) High School
Drew Bowser, Harvard-Westlake (CA) High School
Enrique Bradfield, American Heritage (FL) High School
Jordan Carrion, American Heritage (FL) High School
On Thursday, two more players will be introduced:
Alex Freeland, Mariner (FL) High School
Kyle Harrison, De La Salle (CA) High School
The players who participate in the PDP League will receive hands-on tutorials from some of the most well-known names in recent Major League history. A few weeks ago, MLB announced that Ryan Howard, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones and Barry Larkin will help coach the kids.
The PDP League, which will be held from mid-June through early-July at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, is an invitation-based development opportunity for approximately 80 of the top high school baseball players eligible for the 2020 MLB Draft. It will include competitive game play, practice and training sessions with MLB club representatives serving as on-field coaches, and evaluation using modern technologies tailoring individualized development curricula for each player.
The PDP League will be a primary identification opportunity for USA Baseball's 18U National Team, slated to compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea, in early September. Additionally, the league will be a feeder for a new MLB All-Star High School Prospect Game for the best high school baseball players, taking place in Cleveland as part of MLB’s All-Star Week festivities in July.
As a part of the player experience, all athletes will receive a tablet for the duration of the league for athlete communication, scheduling, daily pushing of data and personal video review, among other functionalities.
This platform will create another opportunity to improve player development throughout the league, reinforce player accountability and offer opportunities to maximize the experience and each athlete’s continued growth on and off the field.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.